Danilo Estrela didn’t open the 2012 Skip Barber Winter Series season the way he had hoped.
Far from it.
Uncharacteristic mistakes during early rounds put the young Brazilian behind in the championship . This past weekend, however, he proved the early miscues were indeed uncharacteristic and earned two wins at Homestead-Miami Speedway for a clean sweep of Rounds 5 and 6.
In Round 5 Nicholas Latifi set the fastest qualifying lap with a 1:33.206. Estrela started second and Jack Mitchell Jr. lined up third. Following an early battle with Mitchell Jr., Estrela escaped the competition for his first win of the season.
Jake Eidson finished runner-up with rookie points leader Nick Neri in third. Neri was later relegated to fifth following a 20-second post-race penalty for avoidable contact with Mitchell. Series’ newcomer Leonardo Jafet filled the final podium spot.
With restored confidence following the Round 5 win, Estrela dominated the weekend’s second race after starting from pole position. At the checkered, he led Mitchell by eight seconds. But, Mitchell put on a clinic of his own by driving from 15to to 2nd during the race. Additionally, he clocked a 1:33.693 for the fastest lap. Mitchell’s weekend also included this.
Jafet capped off a solid weekend by finishing third for his second straight podium. Neri was forced to retire while battling near the front on Lap 3 when his rear wing came off. In the end, he was classified 19th.
Thanks to a second-place and a fourth-place finish, Eidson took over the points lead with 174 points. Neri trails by 11 and Mitchell Jr. is 14 points back.
The Skip Barber Winter Series returns to action February 18-19 at Sebring International Raceway for Rounds 7-8 of the championship.